Anyone who knows anything about tennis should know that Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are always counted among the greatest tennis players in the history of the sport. Their rivalry dates back to the quarterfinals of the French Open in 2006. Nadal prevailed over Djokovic at the tournament and also emerged winner when they met the following year at the finals of the Indian Wells Masters. That same year, Djokovic secured his first win over the Spanish player at the quarterfinals of the Miami Open. Most recently, the duo faced each other at the finals of the 2021 Italian Open, and Nadal defeated the Serbian player to win his 10th Men’s Single tennis title. It is not hard to see why the Nadal-Djokovic rivalry is considered to be one of the most prolific in the racket sport.
The two, alongside their Swiss counterpart Roger Federer, have dominated men’s single for years. In a total of 57 times that Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have thus far faced each other, the Serbian leads the rivalry with 29 wins, just one win ahead of Nadal’s 28. The Spanish player controlled the rivalry until 2011: they met six times that year, all in finals, and Djokovic triumphed in all of the encounters. In 2015 and 2016, the pair contested in seven matches with Djokovic winning all of them. Theirs is the first rivalry in men’s tennis that involved meetings in the finals of all Grand Slam and it has been hard for tennis pundits and analysts to determine who’s the better and most successful player among the two. This is why facts like their net worth, age, career records, and what have you are often compared.
Novak Djokovic Is $20 Million Richer Than Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have come a long way in their respective careers and have been able to set themselves apart in men’s tennis and indeed the sporting world at large. Their careers have been financially rewarding as much as it has been decorated with numerous remarkable records and accomplishments. They are both multimillionaires but based on what has been reported on various platforms, Novak is $20 million richer than Rafael. The Serbian has a net worth estimated at $220 million whereas the Spanish player is worth $200 million.
No one needs to be told that a good measure of those amounts came from the prize money they have won since their professional career took off. Disregarding that, Rafael and Novak make millions year in, year out from sponsorship and endorsement deals. The two are often counted among the most marketable and highest-earning athletes in the world. In 2020, Forbes named both of them on its list of top 100 celebrity earnings of the year. The American Business Magazine listed Novak Djokovic at the 68th position with a total earning of $44.6 million. More than half of that amount ($32 million) came from his endorsement deals as he made only $12.6 million from winnings.
Novak’s total earnings for the year under review were $4.6 million larger than Nadal’s. The Spanish player listed at the 80th spot reportedly made a total of $40 million. As it is with Novak, more than half of the amount ($26 million) came from his endorsement as he made just $14 million from winnings. Apart from what they have made from prize money, endorsement deals, and sponsorship, the two have also engaged in several business activities which have buoyed up their net worths. This is particularly true for Novak Djokovic who has an extensive investment portfolio. Through Family Sport, a limited liability company his family owns, he has invested in various sectors, from hospitality to real estate, entertainment, and what have you.
Rafael Nadal is also known to make money through a few off-the-court endeavors. Prominent among them is his 40,000 square meters sports center situated in Manacor, Mallorca. The center named after him features everything from a fitness center to a health clinic and even a museum. Also, the Spaniard who has always been a big fan of soccer owns 10 percent of RCD Mallorca, a Spanish football club in Palma.
Who Has Won More Prize Money Between The Two?
Neither Rafael Nadal nor Novak Djokovic has any fixed amount as their salary. What they make from playing tennis is completely determined by their performance in any of the tournaments they participate in. They win prize money based on the level they attain in each of the tournaments and the higher the level, the higher the prize money one takes home. Considering this, it is easy to see why many look at the prize monies they have won whenever there is a need to determine the most successful player between the two.
Anyway, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are two of the Big Three in tennis who have all surpassed $100 million in prize money. The Serbian player takes the lead as he has won almost $148 million ($147,996,384) as of 2020. Records have it he is the first player to win $100 million in prize money. He is followed by Roger Federer who has won almost $130 million ($129,981,743) and then Rafael Nadal with over $124.4 million ($124,480,032). What this means is that Novak has won over $23.5 million ($23,516,352) in prize money more than Rafael.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic Are Both In Their Mid-30s But The Former Is Almost a Year Older
Age has always been a factor that determined the performance of an athlete. More than that, it is common for pundits to infer that it correlates with the measure of experience an athlete has. If that’s true, one might as well concluded that both Rafael and Novak have the same level of physical ability and experience as they belong to the same age group. They are both in their mid-30s but Nadal is almost a year older. The Spaniard is 36 years old; he was born on the 3rd of June 1986 and his place of birth was in Manacor, Mallorca, Spain.
About eleven months after Rafael Nadal was born, Srdan and Dijana Djokovic had Novak Djokovic in Belgrade, SR Serbia. The 35 years old tennis player was born on the 22nd of May 1987. It is said that he has been playing tennis since he was four years old. As the story goes, his passion for the sport started after his parents gifted him a racket and a ball. It became his favorite thing to play with and his parents were ultimately motivated to send him to a tennis camp in Novi Sad.
When he turned six, Jelena Gencic, a Serbian tennis/handball coach noticed his talent at a tennis camp and took it upon herself to guide Novak. Within six years of working together, Jelena was convinced that Djokovic would dominate the sport if he gets the right exposure and training. She set out to make that happen and soon enough, at the age of 12, Novak left his hometown for Germany where he trained for the next four years at the Nikola Pilic tennis academy in Oberschleißheim.
Like Novak, Nadal began playing tennis when he was young. It’s no secret that his uncle Toni Nadal is a tennis coach; he introduced Rafael to the sport when he was only three years old. Rafael was also regarded as a promising soccer player but his father made him choose between the two sports so that his academics wouldn’t suffer. Young Rafael abandoned soccer for tennis and no one would dare suggest it wasn’t a good call.
Nadal Turned Pro At Age 15 in 2001 and Djokovic at Age 16 In 2003
Rafael Nadal began his professional career a year before Novak Djokovic. The Spanish player wasted no time in setting himself apart in the sport when his professional career took off at the age of 15 in 2001. That year, he hinted at his intent to dominate the sport when he defeated Pat Cash who was a former Grand Slam tournament champion in an exhibition match. The previous year, his talent gained the attention of the Spanish tennis federation who wanted him to move to Barcelona to continue his training, an offer his family refused to accept.
Nadal’s professional career began with events on the ITF junior circuit. He soon won his first ATP match against Ramon Delgado who had been a professional player since 1995. 2003 saw him win the ATP Newcomer of the Year Award. He also won his first ATP title that year and there has been no stopping him since then. The story isn’t the same for Novak Djokovic as it took him a while before he popularized his name in the sport. This is probably so because he began his professional career when Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were reigning as the two dominant players in men’s tennis: it was difficult for anyone else to gain any attention.
Be that as it may, Novak got to make his Grand Slam tournament appearance at the 2005 Australian Open. Even though he was defeated in the first round, more of him was seen at the US Open and Wimbledon. He gradually climbed the world singles rankings and gained some recognition when he won his first ATP title in 2006; this was at the Dutch Open in Amersfoort. When he won his second career title that year at the Moselle Open in France, he climbed up to the top 20 in rankings. The following year, Novak defeated Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Roddick who were respectively the top three ranked players to win the Rogers Cup in Montreal. With that, it became impossible to ignore him and the Serbian player has retained the relevance since then.
A Breakdown of Their Career Records Across The Major Tournaments
Across all the major tournaments in men’s tennis, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have faced each other 57 times and the Serbian leads the rivalry with 29 wins. Some of their games like the semifinals of the 2009 Madrid Masters, the 2013 French Open, the 2018 Wimbledon, and the final of the 2012 Australian Open are often counted among the greatest matches of all time in tennis. Their rivalry has seen the pair set some unique records. For instance, 2020 saw them become the oldest pair to play the French Open finals. The two are also the first to win Grand Slams in three different decades, among many other significant achievements.
In the first ten games they played between 2006 and 2008, Djokovic recorded only three wins. The first was at the quarterfinal of the Miami Open in 2007. That same year, he recorded his second win against Nadal at the semifinals of the Canadian Open. His third win came in 2008 also at the semifinals stage of the Indian Wells Masters. Novak dominated Nadal all through 2011 as he won the six games they played that year which were all in the final of Indian Wells Masters, Miami Open, Madrid Open, Italian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open.
It is hard to decide who’s the better player between these two but you might find the following useful if you must do that.
ATP Masters Titles and ATP Finals Records
Here’s one of the many fascinating facts about the rivalry between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – they hold a joint record for the most ATP Masters title wins, 36 each. Below is a breakdown.
|Rafael Nadal||Tournaments||Novak Djokovic|
|1||Shanghai Masters/Madrid Open||4|
|3||Indian Wells Masters||5|
|5||Madrid Open/German Open||3|
In terms of ATP Finals (Year-End Championships), Djokovic takes the lead as he has won five whereas Rafael is yet to win the event, so the record is 5 – 0.
Grand Slam Title Records
The four majors here are the US Open, Wimbledon, French Open, and the Australian Open. Both players have won what is known as the Career Grand Slam: winning all four majors in a season. At the age of 24, Nadal set a record as the youngest player in the Open Era to attain the feat. He has won a total of 20 Grand Slam tournament titles, an all-time record he shares with Roger Federer. Novak Djokovic has also pulled off the Career Grand Slam but the total Grand Slam titles he has won is 18.
|Rafael Nadal||Tournaments||Novak Djokovic|
|20 Titles||Total Wins||18 Titles|
Body Measurements of The Tennis Players
Size does matter in tennis even though it is not emphasized. It is believed that it would be laborious for a player with excess weight to chase the ball around the court. As such, it is expected of a player to have the right body mass index like Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
While Novak is 6 feet 2 inches tall (188 cm) and weighs 80 kg (176 lb), Rafael weighs 85 kg (187 lb) and is 6 feet 1 inch (185 cm) tall.
Rafael Nadal Vs Novak Djokovic – A Comparison Table
|Rafel Nadal||Vs||Novak Djokovic|
|$200 Million||Net Worth||$220 Million|
|$124,480,032||Total Prize Money||$147,996,384|
|$40 Million||Total Earning In 2020||$44.6 Million|
|June 2, 1986||Date of Birth||May 22, 1987|
|20 Titles||Total Grand Slam Titles Won||18 Titles|
|36 Titles||ATP Masters Titles Won||36 Titles|
|6 feet 1 inch (185 cm)||Height||6 feet 2 inches (188 cm)|
|85 kg (187 lb)||Weight||80 kg (176 lb)|
- Rafael Nadal has a net worth of $200 million while Novak Djokovic is worth $220 million.
- Djokovic made $4.6 million more than Nadal in 2020. He has also won over $23.5 million in prize money more than Rafael.
- Rafael Nadal is 36 years old, he was born on June 2, 1986.
- Novak Djokovic is 35 years old; he was born on May 22, 1987.
- Nadal began his pro career at age 15 and Djokovic at age 16.